I made a statement in the summer of 2001, before the start of 9th grade at Mustang Mid-High School. It was primarily a statement to myself more than anything. The statement was simple: I would not aim for any kind of leadership role or spotlight among my classmates; my goal was to remain an invisible student who just made it through the four years in the suburban Oklahoma City city. More than that, it was my goal to never become a leader of any kind. I simply did not see myself in that light at all; it was my goal to blend in the background.
That changed in a big way because of one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Diane Cerny. I needed an elective, and I ended up signing up for a Marketing Fundamentals course. As I walked into what was the North building at Mustang High School in junior year, I had no idea what God would end up doing through one amazing teacher and a student organization. Because of her consistent urging, I gave in to running for a local chapter position, won and proceeded to be a state officer my senior year.
I will never forget the final assembly of the 2005 State DECA Conference at Union High School when my name was called as the 2005-06 Oklahoma DECA Reporter. As I recollect that day, I thought back to the time when I vowed to never push for a leadership role. As I walked to the stage of an auditorium of high school students from all over the state, I was amazed how God was not limited in how far He can take us, despite the limitations we place on ourselves.
Today I find myself in a very curious place, in a lead role with my local church and affiliated with several parachurch organizations in my community. I find myself in leadership roles for events I never dreamed I would be a part of back in 2001. I stand amazed every day at the journey God has put me on and the opportunities He has given me that I undoubtedly do not deserve. I continue to learn every single day that in leadership and life you never stop learning. Just when you think you’ve mastered something, you soon realize you’ve got a long way to go. Failure is that ever-present reminder that I still have a lot to learn.
I share this because there are those in our church community who are called to lead but who may not feel equipped and therefore will not step up when the time comes. I am a testimony of someone who God has blessed and used in ways I never expected to be used. Know that when you step out in faith when God calls you to lead in your local church, in your workplace or in your school, He will equip you and guide you for that season of life. But we must respond to the call and not cower in fear when we feel the call to lead.
Doubts and a lack of confidence will always come up and threaten to bring us down, but in those moments we must remind ourselves of the One who created and called us and who knows our beginning and end. Keep your eyes on your Creator, not your circumstances.
In those moments, the words from God to Israel’s new leader Joshua come to mind:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9, ESV